Panetta to Reinforce Strong U.S.-Turkey Partnership

ANKARA, Turkey, Dec. 15, 2011 — Defense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panet­ta arrived here today to rein­force the Unit­ed States’ strong rela­tion­ship with a crit­i­cal secu­ri­ty part­ner with­in the region and NATO.

Panet­ta trav­eled here after cer­e­monies in Iraq mark­ing the end of the U.S. Forces Iraq mis­sion, with stops also in Afghanistan and Djibouti.

In Ankara, the sec­re­tary will meet with Pres­i­dent Abdul­lah Gul and Turk­ish defense lead­ers to thank them for their country’s lead­er­ship dur­ing a peri­od of tran­si­tion and change with­in the region.

“Turkey rep­re­sents a key ally in the Mid­dle East,” Panet­ta told reporters trav­el­ing with him.

In addi­tion to being a strong NATO ally, Turkey is “extreme­ly impor­tant to the abil­i­ty to try to keep what is hap­pen­ing in the Mid­dle East head­ed in the right direc­tion,” he said.

“They can have an influ­ence on what hap­pens in Egypt, what hap­pens in Iraq, what hap­pens in Iran, what hap­pens in Syr­ia,” the sec­re­tary said.

Panet­ta not­ed that Turkey has tak­en a strong posi­tion in con­demn­ing Syria’s vio­lent crack­down on pro­tes­tors and call­ing for Pres­i­dent Bashar Assad to step down.

“Turkey is com­ing on very strong in recent weeks in full align­ment with our efforts and those of our key Arab and Euro­pean part­ners,” a senior defense offi­cial trav­el­ing with Panet­ta told reporters.

The sec­re­tary also said he will com­mend Turkey’s deci­sion to host the for­ward-based radar for the NATO mis­sile defense sys­tem. Panet­ta also is expect­ed to thank the Turks for their con­tri­bu­tions to the NATO-led Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force in Afghanistan.

Also dur­ing the vis­it, the sec­re­tary is expect­ed to express the Unit­ed States’ sol­i­dar­i­ty in its fight against the PKK ter­ror­ists and ways to con­tin­ue that sup­port as U.S. forces com­plete their draw­down in Iraq, the offi­cial said.

Echo­ing a theme he raised ear­li­er this month, the sec­re­tary is like­ly to encour­age Turkey to strength­en and, where nec­es­sary, build rela­tions with key neigh­bors, includ­ing Israel, Arme­nia and Cyprus, the offi­cial said. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →